Named after French explorer Julien Dubuque, the city of Dubuque, Iowa, was founded in 1833. It's a city situated on seven steep hills, with bluffs that overlook the Mississippi River. A longtime industrial center (meat packing, farm equipment manufactering, windows and doors) that has dropped from a population high of around 70,000 to under 58,000 in the 1990 and 2000 censuses. An Irish and German Catholic town accessible via bluffside staircases, the world's shortest funicular railway, and steep-as-San Francisco-streets with names like Heeb and Air Hill. (Cobblestone streets are not a thing of the past here.) Home to such apparent paradoxes as the Tri-State Independent Blind Society Bookstore.
When I grew up in Dubuque in the 1960s, it was the seat of the whitest county in the United States. The brewing industry had vacated, with minor league baseball soon to follow (though beer came back for a while).
Here's what some Dubuque looks like now:
Notice how residential and industrial abut:
Longtime home of the archdiocese:
Mary Bless America:
This is where I was incarcerated in high school before escaping with a year left in my sentence:
Dubuque is a weird, lovely, curvy, smelly, backward, pretentious, problematic place.
Check out these postcards of old Dubuque
and read about where it used to be a treat to eat.